Iraqi banknotes lose Saddam's face

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Six months after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the former leader's likeness on Iraq's currency is being phased out as the Coalition Provisional Authority introduces the new dinar.

Images of Iraq's historical sites, palm trees, and monuments will replace the mustachioed face of Saddam on the new money, which comes into circulation on Wednesday.

To protect against counterfeiters, the dinars will have raised letters, a watermark, a security thread and a color-changing symbol.

Like the previous currency, the denominations are written on the currency in Arabic and English.

Iraqis can exchange their old money from October 15 until January 15 at banks and other official locations. The coalition says the Saddam notes will be incinerated to make way for their replacements.

The coalition says the new money is not just to remove the reminder of Saddam.

"It will also create a single unified currency that is used throughout all of Iraq and will also make money more convenient to use in people's everyday lives," it said.

The new currency will also replace the "Swiss dinar," used by some residents of Northern Iraq.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans is in Baghdad to help launch the new currency.

In his weekend radio address, U.S. President George Bush hailed the introduction of the dinars, noting that West Germany did not have a new currency until three years after World War II.

"In Iraq, it has taken only six months," he said.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/...ncy/index.html